> Posted by Center Staff

Financial Inclusion Forum UK event yesterday at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

This post is part of Financial Inclusion Week, a week of global conversation on advancing financial inclusion. This year’s theme is keeping clients first in a digital world. Throughout the week participants will share their thoughts in events and webinars, on social media, and through blog posts. Add your voice to the conversation using #FinclusionWeek.

We are one day into Financial Inclusion Week 2016 and are so excited to already see stakeholders from across the globe coming together to discuss the week’s theme of keeping clients first in a digital world. As our global financial ecosystem undergoes a digital revolution, we are presented with great opportunities and great challenges to extending financial services in a responsible manner. At CFI, we believe that access to financial services is not enough. We define financial inclusion as “a state in which everyone who can use them has access to a full suite of quality financial services provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, with respect and dignity. Additionally, financial services are delivered by a range of providers, in a stable, competitive market to financially capable clients.”

Keeping clients first in a digital world requires looking beyond access to the essentials of quality services and client treatment. Financial technology has the potential to improve access, as well as the potential to improve convenience, lower prices, and build financial capability. However, fintech also has the potential to take away some of the respect and dignity present in an in-person banking transaction, and it can present new risks. We hope that this week you will explore the best ways to ensure that this digital revolution is not compromising clients, but instead further protecting them against risks and empowering them through new channels.

What’s Happening

Financial Inclusion Forum UK: Last night in London, over 200 stakeholders gathered at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for a conversation focused on “The Progress and Future of Financial Inclusion.” The three-hour event, organized by the Financial Inclusion Forum UK, consisted of a keynote and two panel discussions. The first panel discussion, featuring representatives from CDC, VisionFund, and EBRD, and moderated by Yasmina McCarty of GSMA, assessed current progress in financial inclusion. The second panel looked to the future with panelists from Financial Services for All, DoPay, Leapfrog Labs, and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation.

Demand-driven product design stood out in discussions as a key method to keeping clients first in a digital world. Vaughan Lindsay of LeapFrog Investments advised that communications with customers and customer-centric products are key to the value of financial technology. Brad van Leeuwen of DoPay echoed this by stating that digital solutions should be designed around the customer, rather than pushed onto them.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women: To mark Financial Inclusion Week, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is challenging you to test your financial literacy skills. The Foundation published a short e-learning video from their bespoke financial literacy training curriculum, developed as part of their Road to Women’s Business Growth project in Nigeria. The initiative supported 500 women entrepreneurs in boosting their financial literacy skills and enhancing their access to capital. Watch the video, and take the quiz. And challenge others to join you!

cherie-blair-foundation-videoThe Online Conversation

Many partners are sharing their thoughts on keeping clients first in a digital world on their blogs. Throughout the week, we will capture and share these blog posts for you to enjoy.

MicroSave – Are Financial Inclusion Efforts Across the Globe Going in the Right Direction?
In this post, MicroSave takes a step back to reflect on the gap between how we often approach financial inclusion efforts and how customers manage their financial lives. The post challenges the common notion that lack of access is the biggest challenge to advancing financial inclusion. It suggests that the appropriateness of services and understanding the context of people’s mental models and behavioral biases is key to advancing financial inclusion. What are your thoughts? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and share how behavioral sciences can support financial inclusion.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – U.S. Chamber Foundation Celebrates Financial Inclusion Week
In the first of their series of Financial Inclusion Week posts, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation highlights the importance of the private sector to accelerating inclusion of underserved populations in the financial system, both domestically and internationally. Throughout the week, they will highlight the efforts of member companies, including Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, and SABMiller. Stay tuned for more.

mSTAR – How Digital Financial Services Are Transforming Bangladesh USAID’s mSTAR project, Implemented by FHI360
In this podcast, mSTAR’s Regional ICT and Digital Finance Advisor Josh Woodard gives a preview of what will be discussed at the upcoming Financial Inclusion Week conversation focused on digital finance in Bangladesh.

The UK Financial Inclusion Commission – Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles Reflects on Financial Inclusion Globally and Why the UK Government Needs to Make It a Priority
In the first of the UK Financial Inclusion Commission’s daily Financial Inclusion Week blog posts, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles reflects on the rise of financial inclusion to the agendas of both domestic and international bodies. Cowper-Coles highlights the formation of a new unified money advice body in the UK, which will cover pensions, debt, and all other aspects of financial advice. However, he urges the British government to go one step further in making financial inclusion a national public policy priority embedded across every relevant government department.

For more, including the week’s full event list and a curated #FinclusionWeek social media feed, visit the Financial Inclusion Week website.